June 2, 2016: Bubba’s unruly travels! Dark Matter first looks pics! More casting announcements!

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We are back in Vancouver – and failing fast.   On the surface, it seemed like a good idea at the time: wake up REALLY early and catch the first flight out so that the dogs would, presumably, sleep the entire five hours enroute.  And, yeah, we did wake up at 4 a.m.  And we did catch the 6:50 a.m. flight out.  And Lulu was as quiet as a mouse for the entirety of the trip.  But Bubba!  Cantankerous, anxiety-prone, almost-14 year old Bubba?  He whined and cried and poked his head out of the carrier and made certain I didn’t sleep a wink either.

But the important thing is we’re back home.  And look at what was awaiting us, a little gift from our house-sitter, Tomomi:

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Yep, it’s a hand-painted depiction of the diabolical duo doing what they do best…impatiently awaiting treats.

So, hey, while I was in the air, things were happening on the ground.  First up, Entertainment Weekly offered fans exclusive photos of new Dark Matter cast additions: Franka Potenta, Melanie Liburd, and Shaun Sipos…and also announced the casting of Stargate veteran Mike Dopud (who has been in pretty much every live action show I’ve ever produced), and Scott Pilgrim’s Knives Chau, Ellen Wong.

“Dopud will play Arax, “the powerful head of a prison gang” whose “extensive connections and pull with criminal outfits throughout colonized space would be Arax’s biggest asset should the crew ever decide to trust him,” Syfy said. Wong will portray Misaki, described as a “close childhood friend of Four” who is the “deadly new Commander of the Ishida Royal Guard. Skilled in combat and diplomacy, nothing will stop Misaki from performing her duty to Zairon.”

Franka as Commander Shaddick…

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Melanie Liburd as Nyx Harper…

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Shaun Sipos as Devon Taltherd…

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Mike Dopud, behind the scenes, as Arax Nero…

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Ellen Wong, behind the scenes, as Misaki Han…

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Meanwhile, over on Io9 gives the rundown of How Dark Matter and Killjoys are raising the stakes for season 2.

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Hey, look!  It’s me demonstrating proper use of the escape pod!

With less than a month to go, we start rolling out some major behind the scenes goodies.  Stay tuned to this blog for oodles of Dark Matter fun stuff!

July 30, 2011: Dinner with Mike!

I spent much of the day working on that damn rewrite of Payback, taking a break only to check out the lame Caribana Fest that offered up eight-dollar jerk chicken sandwiches and corn on the cob as a presumed “taste of islands”.  So much for the oxtail, curried goat, and plantain I was expected.  Screw it.  I ended up going to Rodney’s Oyster House for an oyster po’boy, then Soma for chocolates – and back home for a healthy second helping of rewrite.

Tonight, it was off to Scarpetta.  “Scarpetta?!”you say.  “Why?  Was someone in town?”.  Well, as a matter of fact, yes.  Mike Dopud (who, you may know remember, played the role of Varro in Stargate: Universe) is in town, doing some stunt work on Total Recall.  He was just in Montreal doing a guest spot on Blue Mountain State in which he plays a very colorful character.  Don’t want to say too much but judging from the pics of his wardrobe, I’d say he had a blast doing it.

Anyway, it was great to catch up with Mike.  We talked Stargate, our old stomping grounds of Montreal, our new hometown of Vancouver, and Mike’s hair-raising close shaves in his days as a club bouncer (check out the scars!).  And we also enjoyed a mighty fine dinner…

Akemi came armed.
Onion Varietals with goat cheese, pine nuts, and agro dolce. My favorite starter. Well, it's actually part of the vegetarian menu but any item in a vegetarian menu can be considered a starter so far as I'm concerned.
Akemi's favorite, the rosemary scialatielle with lobster, basil, and lentils. Technically, her favorite on this menu - but she still prefers the black pasta we had at the Scapetta in Vegas.

Believe it or not, I passed on the Amedei chocolate cake in favor of the restaurant’s fab coconut panna cotta.  Seriously.  Also sampled a new dessert item – their version of a Baba au Rhum that proved disappointingly dry and lacking the sumptuous rum and cream-saturation characteristic of every other version I’ve tried. The only real misstep of the night.

Anyway, great to see Mike and, hopefully, we’ll get the chance to work together again sometime in 2012 back in Vancouver.

I’ve got something in mind…

June 17, 2009: Dear Casting Directors, Producers, Studio People, and Network Execs – Do Yourself A Favor and Hire These Actors.

Nothing to read here. Move along. Thank you.

This blog entry isn’t for Stargate fans or foodies or dog lovers or anyone who was directed here following an internet search for “vampire prop” (three of you), “big ass xex” (two of you), or “eating champagne truffles when pregnant” (one of you). No, this blog entry is for all those casting directors, producers, studio people, and network execs looking to cast their next big project. How about a few recommendations…

Over the course of my ten years with the Stargate franchise, I’ve had the pleasure to work with numerous talented individuals, many of them guest stars who impressed with their performance, professionalism, and gracious off-camera attitude. And so, today, I’d like to make mention of a few of them here (and I stress “a few of them” because there are certainly more than many I could add to the list. But, for the purposes of today’s entry, let’s go with these ten individuals who a) left a lasting impression and b) I feel are really deserving of more recognition). All are gifted actors who would make a terrific addition to any cast. But be warned! Snap ’em up now because I have a feeling they’ll only be available for so long.

In no particular order…

Michael Welch – Young Jack (Fragile Balance, SG-1 season 7).

Welch, perhaps better known for his role as Luke Girardi in Joan of Arcadia, out-Ricked Rick himself when he took on the role of Young Jack, raising eyebrows by nailing everything from O’Neill’s cadence to his unique mannerisms.

Neil Jackson – Khalek, Wraith (Prototype SG-1 season 9, Vegas Atlantis season 5)

He’s a brilliant actor and works a lot, but given his immense talent he should work even more. He delivered one of Stargate’s most deliciously evil performances as Khalek, the Anubis offspring in SG-1‘s ninth season, then delivered an equally nefarious turn as the poker-playing wraith in Vegas.

Jodelle Ferland – Young Adria, Harmony (Flesh and Blood, SG-1 season 10, Harmony, Atlantis season 4)

Whenever I used to watch Dakota Fanning, I never saw her a “child star“. She was simply a great actress. And I feel much the same way about Jodelle who blew us away as the Young Adria in SG-1’s Flesh and Blood. So much so that when we were looking to cast a precocious young princess, we immediately thought of her and offered her the role – before the script was even finished! She’s incredibly accomplished for someone so young. When she was shooting Harmony, she not only had all of her own lines down pat, but would even prompt her fellow actors when they forget theirs.

Brendan Beiser – Tavius, Weaver (The Tower, Atlantis season 2, Memento Mori, SG-1 season 9).

A couple of wonderfully calculated and controlled performances had me standing up and taking notice. His dinner scene in The Tower was my personal highlight of the episode while his wordless reaction to Teal’c’s whispered suggestion in Memento Mori still makes me chuckle.

Reed Diamond – Bryce Ferguson (Stronghold, SG-1 season 9)

The Homicide: Life on the Street vet delivers big time in his role as Cam Mitchell’s dying buddy in SG-1’s ninth season episode Stronghold. Over the course of the single episode, he brings to life a character so genuine and likable that his end touched even the most stoic of stone-hearted producers. That would be me. Hey, I hear he’s on Dollhouse!

Ryan Robbins – Ladon Radim (Various episodes, Atlantis)

Atlantis had it’s fair share of recurring villains, but none quite had the depth and daring of Genii Ladon Radim. Here was a sometime adversary and occasional ally who both charmed and schemed with equal aplomb and, at the end of the day, always seemed to find a way to come out on top. Ryan’s nuanced performance always kept the audience guessing.

Kari Wuhrer – Nancy (Outcast, Atlantis season 4)

When I think back to Kari’s guest spot on Atlantis, I remember her as much for what a sweetheart she was off-camera as I do her terrific performance as Sheppard’s ex-wife. She was perfect as the captivating, whip-smart Nancy.

Malcolm Scott – Caius (The Ties That Bind, SG-1 season 9)

Malcolm delivers one of my favorite comic performances as the colorful intergalactic swindler Caius in The Ties That Bind. Hilarious.

Mike Dopud – Bounty Hunter, Kiryk (Bounty, SG-1 season 10, Tracker, Atlantis season 5)

Former stuntman Mike Dopud excels where so many others crash and burn, pulling off characters both tough and ultimately sympathetic. It’s a tricky balance but Mike makes it seem effortless.

Reiko Aylesworth – Sharon (Life, Universe season 1)

Alas, I never had the opportunity to meet her but going from Carl’s on-set reports, Reiko is a delight to work with. On the other hand, I did see her dailies and watched her performance in the subsequent cuts of Life and can report, this time firsthand, that she was unbelievably good.

Hey, guess who was back at the Bridge Studios today? That’s right. Martin Gero! And guess who wasn’t? That’s right. Me! I was home waiting for the guys to complete work on the new home security modifications. They’re done with the moat but some of the alligators got loose from the truck. By day’s end, we’d managed to corral most of them. That said, if you’re in the neighborhood and happen to come across an enormous reptile that answers to Monty, please contact this blog.

March 11, 2009: An Unintentional Oversight, Updates, Another Guest Blogger, and The Mailbag

 It has come to my attention that some of you have elected to interpret a recent blog post in which I reflected fondly on my days with SG-1 as some sort of indirect sleight. The argument is that by praising the SG-1 team, I’m dissing anyone I didn’t happen to mention. “Why,”you may ask, “did you only talk positively about the gang who worked on SG-1? Couldn’t you have mentioned X, Y, or Z?” Yes, I suppose I could have. I suppose I also could have also mentioned warm biscuits, swim goggles, and the comedy stylings of Dane Cook. But I didn’t. Why not? Because they, like X, Y, and Z, have nothing to do with SG-1. That particular blog entry was triggered by a conversation I had with someone I worked with for seven years on Stargate SG-1. Our chat brought back some terrific memories, memories I decided to share with you. And, in so doing, I also allowed for a neat little segue into the announcement of the Amanda Tapping Q&A.

Still, I understand how one might conclude that, even though the topic of conversation was SG-1, my failure to wedge in some non-SG-1-related specifics could have been a calculated omission on my part. So, just for the record, I want to you all to rest easy knowing that, even though the following weren’t mentioned in that blog entry, I love them all nevertheless. Apologies to…

My wife

My mother

My sister

My dogs

Flight of the Conchords

The Sopranos

Cowboy Bebop

The F Word

Amadei chuao dark chocolate

Nutella

Pierre Hermes Macarons

The crispy duck at Fuel Restaurant

The works of John Scalzi

The works of Joe Abercrombie

The works of Jeffrey Ford

Tokyo

YouTube recipe videos

Lemurs

Old comic books

Those really polite gophers from the Warner Bros. cartoons

Breakfast shakes comprised of almond milk, protein powder, bananas, almond butter, and frozen acai

March Madness

Rome

South Park

Pork belly

La Bomba Hot Antipasto Spread

Chocolate-covered almonds

Tuna belly nigiri

Fresh uni

Parasite sunglasses

A Christmas Story

The Princess Bride (book and movie)

Cufflinks

Hong Kong dining

Sleeping in

Staying up late reading

The original Planet of the Apes movies

The original Three Musketeers

The Four Musketeers

Reservoir Dogs

Vosges smoked apple wood bacon truffles

Wen Chocolates bananas foster truffles

And…that’s all that comes to mind right now.

Back in the office today and the story slots are filling up fast. I’m switching off my kino considerations in order to come up with my second and final story for the show’s first season. I have a character (Tamara) and a location (a planet). Now, all I need is for something to happen.

I received an email from actor Mike Dopud (aka Stargate: Atlantis’s Kiryk) who informs me that he’ll guesting on Supernatural tomorrow night in an episode titled “Death Takes a Holiday”. All you Supernatural fans will no doubt be tuning in but those of you have yet to check out the show may want to check it (and Mike) out. Also, Mike tells me that he is presently working on a movie with Steven Seagal, On the Run, in which he has a supporting role as Officer Clark. I wonder if he gets to throw down with The Pony Tailed One. Or maybe he gets to jump out of a birthday cake (See, in Seagal’s Under Siege, Erika Eleniak plays a stripper who jumps out of a cake while terrorists are taking a U.S. Navy Battleship….aah, forget it.).

Hey, I’ve been exchanging emails with actor Martin Christopher, a.ka. Christopher Martin, a.k.a. Chris Martin, a.k.a. The Master of Akido (No, wait. I think that’s Steven Seagal) – but let’s just call him Major Kevin Marks – and he’s kindly agreed to join us for a little Q&A session here on the blog. To what does he attribute his characters meteoric rise – from First Lieutenant to Captain to Major in four short years compared to SG-1 mainstay Davis who appears doomed to remain a Colonel for the rest of his natural life? Which ship did he prefer, Prometheus or Daedalus? What’s spaceship food like? Start posting. I’ll be gathering up the questions, then sending them his way this weekend.

Oh, and today’s entry is dedicated to birthday gal(?) Shaggy and belated birthday gal Erin.

Mailbag:

Fsmn36 writes: “ Also, Joe, some of that food looks amazing!! Especially the dessert. What all is included on that Elvis platter?”

Answer: The Elvis Platter at The Memphis Blues Barbeque House includes: brisket, ribs, rib ends, pulled pork, smoked chicken, smoked sausage, fries, cole slaw, and baked beans.

Shingwit writes: “How are Bubba, Jelly and Maximus?”

Answer: Great. They thank you for asking and want to know how you’re doing.

Jasper writes: “I was wondering if Jennifer Keller ever had (has) a middle name?”

Answer: To the best of my recollection, we never gave her one.

Shirt ’n Tie writes: “Any holidays planned by the by? And also any word from Marty G in the Big Apple? How goes his new show?”

Answer: Planning a return trip to Tokyo this winter. Marty G. is doing fine in the Big Apple and is enjoying himself immensely on his new show, Bored to Death. Here’s hoping he’ll be able to write a second script for us before the slots are all filled.

Major D. Davis writes: “ 1. Have you ever considered directing a Universe episode?

2. When will we get more news on the Atlantis Movie?

3. Will promo pictures and or videos regarding Universe appear on the sci fi channel after one of the SG-1 movies air?

4. Who are your favorite people who read and comment on your blog?

5. How is life for you in Canada? Are you loving it or hating it?”

Answers: 1. Nope. 2. Hopefully within the month. 3. Don’t know exactly how Sci Fi intends to proceed regarding sneak peeks. 4. Unlike with children, I can’t play favorites here. 5. Life is good in Canada. I’d say I’m pleased.

Masterchief writes: “Will SGU’s performance influence the production of the movies, especially the Atlantis movie?”

Answer: SGU’s performance has no connection to the Atlantis movie. If it did, then that would mean we wouldn’t be shooting the movie until 2010 since there is talk of SGU premiering in the fall.

Belouchi writes: “1. Do you think with these current hard economic times that Project Twilight will be the last Atlantis movie?

2. Joe, Atlantis the actual city ship, was it the same city ship that was observed flying from Antartica in Rising Part 1 or was the city ship from the Tower; or another given the assumption the ancients probably built more than two?

3. Was it just me or were the replicator class Auroras weaker in terms of shields and offensive power when compared to the Orion?

4. Any status update on your future plans after SGU season 1?”

Answer: 1. I’m confident that if the movie is successful, we’ll do more. 2. It was the original Atlantis. 3. It wasn’t just you. 4. SGU season 2.

Atlantisjoefan writes: “1. Any news or thoughts about when it’ll be filming?
2. Is Todd going to be in the film? I love the relationship between Todd and Sheppard.”

Answers: 1. There was initial talk of a summer shoot but, given the tight scheduling, fall looks more likely. 2. Yes, he will.

Libkat writes: “Did you ever get that true Southern boy, Ben Browder to try Memphis Blues? That would be a real stamp of approval.”

Answer: Afraid not. Ben and I talked barbecue once and, being the good N.C. native he is, he’s partial to vinegar-based sauces.

Ascended Tauri writes: “I was wondering if you could confirm or deny this news article related to Universe:

Answer: Certainly sounds like something we would do. For episode #4.

Myth86 writes: “Are there any romantic restaurants that you would recommend? (budget is about $40-50/pp)”

Answer: I’d check out Market at the Shangri-la Hotel.

January 28, 2009: Actor Mike Dopud Answers Your Questions

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Today, I’d like to turn this blog over to a familiar face – stuntman and actor Mike Dopud who has made three memorable appearances in the Stargate franchise (Full Alert’s Colonel Chernovshev, Bounty’s Odaii Ventrell, and Tracker’s Kiryk). So far. He’s incredibly talented, a helluva nice guy and, should my SF pilot ever get off the ground, I’ve already got a part for him. Over to Mike…

Thank you Joseph and everyone at SG1 and SGA for bringing me onto your show over the years. Thanks Joe for getting me on your blog. What great questions. Thanks to all the SG fans out there that take the time to watch the shows and for all those nice compliments. Unbelievable. As an actor, there is no greater feeling than to have people respect and enjoy watching your performance. So thanks to everyone out there and I hope to do this again some time.

Christle writes: “I got a question for Mike Dopud! -waves hand in the air frantically- What’s your favorite book, and if said book were to be adapted into a movie, which part would you most like to play?”

I am waving back frantically. Favorite book. Hmmmm, lately it seems like the only books I read are either dinosaur books and/or dinosaur encyclopedias – lol (My 4 year old son Dane is obsessed with dinos). If I were to choose a book it would probably be by the author Ed McBain. He has written many books about the 87th Precinct, which is a fictitious Police precinct in Chicago. Two of his novels that stand out to me are “Big Bad City” and “Fat Ollie’s Book”, both of which are great. They are well-written, gritty, police mysteries. I would love to play the character Det. Steve Carella. They have made some TV movies based on these novels in the past but I think they could make for an awesome feature or a great series.

Mellow Yellow writes: “I don’t have any questions for Mike but please let him know I think he is HOT! and he did an excellent job playing Kiryk and I actually was choked when he sacrificed himself to save everyone else. AND I would have loved it if they made him a regular or recurring character on SGA..that is how great he was..I don’t usually miss a character that I see once on a show but he left me wanting more…”

Thanks Mellow Yellow, I don’t hear the words “HOT” too often so I am flattered. I’m so glad you enjoyed Kiryk. I did as well. I was hoping that he would come back but shortly after we finished shooting “Tracker”, they announced Atlantis wasn’t coming back for season 6. Thanks again, it’s nice to hear.

Wolfenm writes: “To Mike Dopud ~ First, I juist wanted to say that Kiryk was utterly captivating from the first moment your character appeared! He’s the #1 character that I wish we could have seen again in the series! Thank you for bringing him to life for us, for making him a character to care about!”

Thank you very much.

“Now for questions ….

1) I understand that you have quite a range of talent in the acting world, doing stage, television/movie acting, stunt acting, and voice-overs — what aspect did you get your acting start in – “

I started acting and doing stunts about 15 years ago. I would have to say that I started working more as a stuntman early on in my career. I can’t explain why really, but I guess it was due to my sports and fighting background that made me more employable, for lack of a better term. I was very fortunate. I thoroughly enjoy acting for both film and television. As I get older I realize how lucky I am to be a working actor.

I enjoy the freedom and pacing you get with doing a feature film sometimes. In most cases you can really try and figure out the scenes, try them different ways, etc. I also like the challenge of television to get it “right” in a couple of takes. Unfortunately you don’t always have time to be as creative as one would like but it can still be done. I don’t really have a preference at this stage of my career. I LOVE to work. As my wife says: when I am working regularly, I am a happy person.

The first professional play I did was 6 years ago. It was an original play called “Of Diners and Buses” Let me tell you what a thrill that was. I was excited, nervous, scared out of my wits and completely thrilled to work on stage. Working in front of a live audience was such an incredible experience. Now I try to do a play every couple of years if I get the chance to.“and how did you get into those other areas?” All of my work has come from acting and stunt work either directly or indirectly. I met an actor on set years ago that ran a voice-over studio in Toronto, Canada and he brought me in a couple of days later to re-voice some characters on a series he was producing and that was my introduction to voice work.

“Do you have a preference?”

If I had to choose only one aspect of the film industry it would be acting in film and television. Is that only one??

“2) Wikipedia says that you’re also an athlete — what sport(s) do you participate in?”

I WAS an athlete; I sure don’t feel as athletic as I did 10 years ago – hahaha. I played football at Southern Illinois University and had brief stints professionally with the Saskatchewan Rough Riders in The Canadian Football League and with Birmingham Fire of the World League of American Football.

Hockey was the other sport. I played for the Hull Olympics in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and after my football career was done I played in the East Coast Hockey League with the Columbus Chill. “3) Which actors and directors would you most like to work with, given a chance?”I would love to work with …that is tough…. Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins, Cate Blanchet, Cate Winslet. Denzel Washington, Daniel Craig. That’s a pretty good list if you ask me.

As far as directors go, I would have to say a dream of mine would be to work with Clint Eastwood. Ron Howard would be another one.

“4) What’s been your most and least favorite roles so far?”

I loved playing Don Lawson on the MTV Series “Kaya”, the complex and morally challenged Det. Glen Stuckey on the ION network show “Durham County”, and of course I had such a blast playing Kiryk on Atlantis.

“5) What would be your dream role? (It can be something vague, like a mustache-twirling villain, or a specific role that’s already been done, like Han Solo.)”

One of my all time favorite movies is “Mad Max”. That would be very fun. Again, playing Kiryk was great. Doing that on a regular basis or in a feature format would be everything I could ask for. I just watched the movie “The Wrestler” and I would definitely love to play that kind of role.

“6) Of all the costumes you’ve had to wear, which have you liked the best in your career? The least? And what one has been hardest to perform in?”

I had fun wearing my costume as General Backler in “IN THE NAME OF THE KING”. I wore armor and a long wig and this crazy beard. Kiryk’s costume was very cool as well (that post apocalyptic look) and my wardrobe as Don on “KAYA” was fun as well because I got to dress in the hippest high end suits and got to drive nice cars.

“7) Of things you haven’t appeared in, what are some of your favorite plays? Movies? TV shows?”

I really like the play THE SEA HORSE by Edward J. Moore. BETRAYAL by Harold Pinter. TV shows…I am hooked on GREY’S ANATOMY believe it or not. I like 24, THE WIRE was very good too. Movies: Just saw THE WRESTLER (great) BLADE RUNNER, CITY OF GOD and many, many more.

“If you pitted the three Stargate characters you’ve played against each other in a fight, who would win?”

Off the top I would have to say Kiryk, but Odaii Ventrell was very slick and smart and didn’t really have a conscience so I think it would be close fight – but I have to believe Kiryk would win out in the end. Col. Chernovshev wouldn’t really stand a chance. Against those two that is.

Ponytail writes: “Some questions for Mr. Mike Dopud: How did you like working with Jewel, David, and Jason in Tracker?”

I loved working with them, they treated me as if I was a regular on the show. Jewel and I hit it off immediately which made starting on a new show much easier. She’s very nice. I remember on the first day, Jewel and I had already done some scenes together and then David and Jason showed up and I couldn’t believe how funny they were. There were a couple of takes that I thought I would not be able to contain my laughter. They made me feel right at home.

“Have you ever worked with any Atlantis cast member in the past?”

I was about to say no but actually I have worked with Paul McGillion before on a movie called SEE GRACE FLY – which Paul was excellent in might I add.

“Did you do all your own stunts in Tracker?”

Yes, I have experience as a stunt performer which makes it easier for producers and directors to let me do my own action.

“What was your favorite scene in Tracker and why?”

My favorite scene in TRACKER is probably the scene in the cave when I bring Dr. Keller to see Celise (the little girl that I am trying to save). I just think that it is a critical scene in the show because the audience gets to see the real reason why Kiryk kidnapped Dr.Keller. I believe this is a moment in which the audience starts to empathize with him and you get to see that this hardnosed, intense tough guy is actually a noble and caring person. Hopefully that’s what came across. The fight scenes with Jason were fun too. I trained and rehearsed for quite a while to make the them work so I was anxious to shoot them as well. I think they came together quite well.

“Your character and Jason’s character are/were both runners. Personality wise, how do you think Kiryk was different from Ronon?”

I think they are very similar in some ways, both having gone through terrible things such as being on the run from the WRAITH, watching people and family they care for destroyed. I think a difference might be that Kiryk hasn’t found a home yet and is probably at the end of his line so to speak whereas Ronon has been with ATLANTIS for some time and is not on the run from the Wraith anymore.

“Do you think your character Kiryk survived after diving through the gate with the Wraith in tow?”

I would love to think Kiryk survived. Because the tracking system was fried, I believe it gave him a renewed hope and a chance to make it through. The fact that the Wraith can no longer track him is a huge bonus for Kiryk.

“Of your 3 appearances in SG1 and SGA, which was your favorite and why?”

Playing Ventrell in Bounty on SG1 was really fun but I would have to say Kiryk was my favorite because although he was a tough guy, he was more vulnerable as a person. More complex.

“Any upcoming projects you’d like to mention?”

As a matter of fact I have been very fortunate this past year. I am a series regular on a show called DURHAM COUNTY which will air this summer on the ION network. I play Det. Glenn Stuckey. As well, I am back on SMALLVILLE this week Jan.29th and they brought my character back on BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (Specialist Gage) which airs this week and next week Friday at 10pm on SCI FI channel. I just finished shooting a small part on the feature WOLVERINE this week. I play an American Officer. Oh, and I will be Guest Starring on SUPERNATURAL in the month of Feb.

Tamijib writes: “To Mike Dopud: I just wanted to say that I enjoyed your work on SG1 and SGA. I would have to say that I enjoyed you as Kiryk the most. I love characters like him that pretend they are tough but really have a soft side. You really brought that in his character. Thanks. Questions: Out of all the characters on Stargate franchise which one did you like the most/least to play?”

As I said before Kiryk was just the best character for me to portray. I liked all of them. Col. Chernovshev was fun to play as well. He’s so different than the others.

“If asked would you come back to the Stargate franchise on SGA as Kiryk or even SGU as another character? Thanks for the Q&A.”

Of course, I would be absolutely thrilled if they asked me to come back as Kiryk or even as a new character on SGU. I have always been treated well by the Stargate Clan.

Charlie MacKenna writes: “Question for Mr. Mike: So, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being completely awesome) how awesome is it being a stunt man?”

Hahaha good question. I would give it a 10. I love it but I have to be honest. As you get older the falls and the physical abuse your body talks aren’t as fun as they used to be.

Thornyrose writes: “Questions for Mr. Dopud. First, what inspired you to make the shift from stuntman to acting?”

I think it was just something that evolved over time. I always loved doing both stunt work and acting but I guess over the years the challenges that acting brings is something that really drives me. I relish the challenge of bringing a character to life to enhance the story. Hopefully I have been able to do that.

“What is your favorite form of acting, theater, TV, movies? Which genres are you most eager to do, or enjoy most? Sci-fi, comedy, romance?”

In my career I have worked on a number of Sci -Fi projects (SG1, Atlantis, BSG, Rollerball, Riddick,etc..) I love the fantasy worlds. It allows you a lot of freedom when trying to create a character. As well, I love working on dramas. I am most eager to work on a romantic comedy, believe it or not. I don’t get many opportunities to work on them but it would definitely be a change of pace and something I look forward to doing one day.

Airelle writes: “Mr. Dopud, great work on Tracker, enjoyed that episode. Did you get many injuries from the work on SGA?”

Thanks so much. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Fortunately I didn’t get hurt at all on Tracker. Everything in the fight scene was choreographed and rehearsed by Jason, myself and the stunt guys with James Bamford’s supervision.

PoorOldEdgarDerby writes: “Questions for Mr. Dopud:

1. Did you ever tell somebody that you were a stuntman and they asked if it’d be all right to sock you?”

Yes and please don’t ever do that to a stunt man. At least they ask first and some of the time I would say “Sure, but can I hit you back??”. That always gets a laugh.

“2. I’ve perused a couple sites listing your acting credits. Do you mostly enjoy film work or does the stage at all strike your fancy?”

I thoroughly love working on television and film but I really enjoy being on the stage. In my perfect world, I would work on a series, then do a feature film and or a play every year. The only ‘problem’ with working on stage is the time commitment which keeps you away from film and TV work.

Ava writes: “For Mike Dopud: First I would love to say, that I admire you for having the courage to break the barrier between worlds of stuntmen and actors. It’s impressive how convincing you can be in your roles and how different every role is!”

Thanks so much for saying that. I love the challenge a bringing to life these different characters.

“I loved Kiryk and loved to hate Torko.”

I agree. Torko had absolutely no redeeming qualities. It was fun playing a bad guy that was such a jerk.

“Okay… 1. Any possibility we could see you in the new SGU?”

I really don’t know if that is possible but if they (the producers) want me back, I would do it in a heartbeat. The Stargate franchise has always treated me well.

“2. How difficult was the transition from stuntman to actor? Did you encounter some.mm.. resistance?”

I would say that the transition was a hard one. Especially early on. I had resistance from many people. Some casting directors didn’t want to give me a chance but, eventually, I was able to win them over I guess. It did take some time though. Stunt coordinators would also be apprehensive when it came to hiring me because they wanted to know if I was committed to doing stunts or not. I just never understood why people had a hard time with me doing both, but I think as the years have gone on, I have made some inroads and hopefully it will keep on going.

“3. If you could not do THIS job, what would you do?”

Honestly I have never thought of what I would do if I weren’t acting…. Maybe I would be involved in coaching sports or something like that.

“4. Which role you consider to be your biggest ‘breakthrough’ so far?”

My biggest breakthrough so far would have to be landing a lead role on a series called KAYA, which aired on MTV last year and is currently airing in Canada and in Europe I believe. The main reason was that they didn’t want me to audition for it. I happened to audition for it in LA at the last minute, they brought me back for a network test the next day and I got it.Tracker was also very important because as much as I enjoyed playing Kiryk, the feedback has been fantastic.

“5. Do you have any official fanmail address?”

You can send it to my agent: Peter Strain and Associates

5455 Wilshire blvd. Suite #1812

Los Angeles, CA

90036

“6. What qualities do you value the most in people?”

Simply put, honesty and loyalty.

“Well, thank you for your time and wishing you the very best “

I appreciate that Ava.

Shiningwit writes: “I don’t have any questions for Mike Dopud apart from how do you pronounce your surname?”

That’s funny; I have never been asked that question…kidding. I pronounce it DO as in Dough, pud (as in pudding) if that makes any sense. No worries though. My own family and I say it differently. It’s a Serbian name that dropped and added letters when my parents defected from the former Yugoslavia in the early sixties.

KellyK writes: “Hi, Mike. Thanks for taking our questions.

1) What was the most challenging aspect of shooting Tracker?”

I would say it was a great episode to work on for me. I could totally relate to Carl Binder’s writing. Will Waring and I had a great meeting before we started shooting and I told him why and what I thought Kiryk was. He gave me some notes and some freedom in creating the character. The challenge for me was to somehow make Kiryk a character that you can understand or at some level empathize with despite his quiet demeanor and harsh appearance.

“2) How did working on Atlantis compare to working on SG-1?”

I would have to say it was very similar in the fact that both sets were extremely friendly and accommodating.

“3) Since the fate of your character was left open at the end of the episode, what do YOU think happened to Kiryk?”

As I mentioned earlier, since Dr. Keller fried his tracking device, I believe that gave Kiryk a newfound will to survive and that little edge to keep going. I believe his skills as a warrior would beat out the WRAITH, thus I think he survived and is ready to make a comeback in the ATLANTIS movie…..Joe, Brad, Robert…..what do you say???? Ok, ok it was worth a shot. LOL.

January 16, 2009: Link Issues, Book Discussion, Internet News, and the Mailbag

Yesterday, I received a call from the uber-talented composer Joel Goldsmith who wanted me to know he’s been working hard on those fan questions I sent him and is almost done. Actual work, it would seem, held things up a bit, but he assured me that his responses would be chock full of interesting info and links. I’m alternately pleased and a little nervous, only because I haven’t been having much luck with links of late. I’ll copy and paste a text containing links onto my wordpress page and, once I hit “publish”, there’s no telling what I’m doing to end up with. Sometimes lines and paragraph will be run together. Other times the actual link will disappear from where it should be and end up as an addendum at the bottom of the entry. Still other times, the entire text will be underlined and/or bolded. What gives? Being the non-techy guy I am, my first guess is an ancient Mayan curse. If anyone has a better explanation, I’d love to hear it.

Speaking of upcoming Q&A’s – A final reminder to get your questions in for actor Mike (Kirkyk) Dopud!

Further thoughts on On Basilisk Station:

First of all, thanks to everyone who has weighed in with thoughts and comments on the book. Clearly, the series has a lot of fans and, judging from the first book, I can see why. One of the things that really appealed to me was the complex and wholly believable world David Weber creates, and one of the main reasons his Honorverse is so credible is because of the details offered on everything from its socio-economic and political structure to its technological achievements. Of course some would argue that it’s a two-edged sword, that these meticulous accounts can actually frustrate the reader. So, I’m curious what those of you who read On Basilisk Station think about this as it applies to the book. Too much, too little, or just right?

Also, in response to my review, Terry posted the following comment: “Joe, I had a question related to your post about “On Basilisk Station.” You mentioned somthing about this book being the first book that you liked as military SF. I’ve heard others describe “Old Man’s War” as military SF and I know you love that book. I’m curious, do you think of “Old Man’s War” more a space opera? How do you define military SF?”

Well, damn that’s a good point. In retrospect, yeah, I SHOULD classify Old Man’s War as military SF (and come to think of it, Armor by John Steakley, another book I loved). However, Weber’s brand of military SF is very different and more in keeping with my long-held notion of the science fiction sub-genre in which the military component drives the story above all else. The emphasis is less on space opera and more on elements like battlefield tactics and the particulars of combat. I honestly don’t have a preference between either version and hadn’t even considered the differences until this question came up.

So, what do you all think? How would you definite military SF? Do books like Old Man’s War fall into that definition? Why or why not?

What’s in YOUR drinking water? If you guessed Naproxen (a painkiller and anti-inflammatory), Estrone (an oestrogen hormone), and Carbamazepine (a drug used to treat bipolar disorder), you are correct! And, in all probability, already read the following article:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16397-top-11-compounds-in-us-drinking-water.html

Sure they’re closing in on a cloak of invisibility, but can science invent a shampoo with the long-lasting scent of oatmeal cookies?:

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D95NOJL01&show_article=1&catnum=-1

Who, in your opinion, are the lamest super villains in comic book history? Draw up your list and compare. Oh, Asbestos Man. What the hell were you thinking?:

http://www.the-iss.com/2007/07/the_11_lamest_supervillains_in.php

And

http://www.mondomagazine.net/?p=2369

To those of you unfamiliar with Cowboy Bebop, this may be of passing interest. To fans of the brilliant anime series, this new is, well, kinda depressing:

http://www.japanator.com/elephant/post.phtml?pk=9178

Mailbag:

AV Eddy writes: “What does salsify taste like?”

Answer: Like sweet victory but a tad crunchier.

Belouchi writes: “1. How many ZPMS are within our possesion? ( 3 in Atlantis, one in the Odyssey, Does that seem right)
2. Was the Zpm that was given to power the ancient chair of Antartica or might I say Area 51 destroyed along with the chair?
3. Are the ZPMs powering Atlantis nearly depleted?
Also that now that you guys at Bridge Studios have a better grasp of the complexities of Stargate Universe:
4. Do you know roughly, the size and scope of The Destiny? Is it comparable to an Aurora Class ship, or more in the range of a mega ship such as Anubis mothership or Atlantis like ship.
5. Do you know where we can get Pierre Herme Macarons in Montreal?”

Answers: 1) Hmmmm. Seems about right. 2) Time will tell. Unless Paul does first. 3) Again, we’ll find out the next time we meet our intrepid crew. 4) Yet again, I’m going to have to defer on this one. 5) To the best of my knowledge, you can’t.

Blademos writes: “Will there be a Movie comming soon cause rumor has it that there might not be a movie cause none of the real cast has signed…”

Answer: There will definitely be an Atlantis movie.

Sherwood Forest Maiden writes: “Have you read Twilight, or any of the other books in the series?? Or seen the movie??”

Answer: No, I haven’t.

Tori writes: “Awesome series ending…for SG1!”

Answer: As I already said – the script was not intended to be a SERIES finale, but a season finale.

WillySkilly writes: “Any chance that if Atlantis gets a second movie it would be Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow?”

Answer: Most unlikely.

PoorOldEdgarDerby writes: “Is a pinky fracture more likely to be dismissed if the chided has been given fair warning that, if he continues to twist hia arm in such a manner that the laws of momentum will be ultimately responsible for his consequential suffering?”

Answer: Sadly, no.

Scary writes: “ I have read that the SGA movie will air first on SCI-FI and then be released on DVD while others say that it will a straight to DVD like the other Stargate movies. Can you clear this up?”

Answer: From what I hear, it will probably air on SciFi first.

TBA writes: “How story-arc-based (if that’s a word) is SGU going to shape? Are you going with the old SG-1 way and having only the two- and three-parters tie into each other (with the rest being, although fun, fillers that contributed to some stories but could’ve been anywhere in the season), something along the lines of Heroes where every episode directly continues where the previous ep ended (which is very fun to see, imo), or something in between like SGA season 1 where the episodes were kinda stand-alone (except for the two/three-parters, ofc) but also contributed to the overall arc each episode?”

Answer: SGU will definitely be more of an arc-driven series. Although it will have its fair share of stand-alone and multi-parters, the show will have more season-long plot and character threads running through every episode.

Noelm writes: “So, is hitting with an open fist the same as a “slap”?”

Answers: Slaps, cuffs, and karate chops are all acceptable when dealing with a writer who has screwed up your lunch order.

Stephanie writes: “I’m finding that there are several days a week when I just can’t “get it up to write.” When you get that feeling do you have any tricks to get past that?”

Answer: Convince your writing partner to do a Q&A for you! Otherwise – force yourself. Easier said than done, I know, but one of the reasons I update this blog daily is because it forces me to write. Some entries are better than others but, at the end of the day, the important thing is that I’ve produced something that I can foist upon an unassuming public.

Sparrow_hawk writes: “Hey Joe! Are you going to stay carb free or switch to a low-carb diet when your two weeks are up? Or are you just going back to your previous evil ways?”

Answer: I’ll try to be more careful about what I ate – but will nevertheless indulge in the occasional cheat meals.

IamJohn writes: “Joe, do you have any plans on updating spambait?”

Answer: Eventually, yes. I have to take a peek inside Baron Destructo’s inbox.

Fathercrow writes: “FC: Hey wait a minute here, de-molecularized? Wormholes don’t de-molecularize!”

Answer: Actually, it has long been established on Stargate that anything passing through the event horizon is de-molecuralized for transfer and then re-molecularized on the other side. There is a rare glimpse of the start of the process in Ark of Truth.

Mazeykins writes: “What the heck is Scrapple?”

Answer: Boiled pork scraps and cornmeal. Yum.

Arctic Goddess writes: “There is a great deal of discussion among the fans regarding the sets and if people will be able to see the Atlantis set or the SGC gateroom during the tours at the Stargate convention in April. Is there anything you could say to assuage the fans fears that there is nothing left of the sets except what has been built for the new series?”

Answer: Sorry, I can’t. The SG-1 corridors, control and briefing room are no more. The gate room is in the process of being re-done. The Atlantis sets are still standing. That said, the present state of things puts future tours in doubt.

Shirt ‘n Tie writes: “Now that Atlantis Movie / Universe is in the writing phase, are you still travelling in and out every day to The Bridge, or are things a bit more relaxed…ie can you work from home every so often?”

Answer: Brad and Rob, as the show’s creators and show runners, are dealing with prep. Carl, as an Executive Producer, is there on a regular basis. Paul and I, as Consulting Producers, are involved but will have more free time this season. In fact, I’m working from home today.

Dr. Pants writes: “From what I’ve heard, when the final episode was written it wasn’t confirmed it would be the final episode. When the news came through that it would be, were there any rewrites at all to better reflect this and which episode(s?) were filming at the time?”

Answer: At the time, Infection was being shot, Identity was in prep, and Vegas and Enemy at the Gate were finals. There were no significant changes made to either script.

Luvnjack writes: “So, Joe, since it appears you are making your way through the powers that be, are we ever going to have a guest Q&A with Martin Wood?”

Answer: Most unlikely. He has his hands full with Sanctuary.

January 14, 2009: Scalzi and Stargate, Together At Last

Universe Creative Consultant John Scalzi
Stargate: Universe Creative Consultant John Scalzi
Carl and James
Carl and James
Brad and John
Brad and John
Where Destiny will be docked.
Where Destiny will be docked.
Foie gras
Foie gras
Sweeeet scallops
Sweeeet scallops
Le Crispy Canard presented...
Le Crispy Canard presented...
...and served.
...and served.
John's first duck
John's first duck
Dessert!
Dessert!
Les mignards
Les mignards

Back in 2006, I read a novel that totally blew me away and single-handedly revived my passion for literary SF: Old Man’s War by author John Scalzi. It was smart, humorous, and unbelievably entertaining. So entertaining, in fact, that I ended up recommending it to anyone and everyone – friends, fans, and family alike. And their responses were equally enthusiastic. I picked up the second and third book in the series, The Ghost Brigades and The Last Colony, and enjoyed them so much that I made another Scalzi novel, The Android’s Dream, a Book of the Month Club selection on this very blog (for this stragglers who’d yet to discover the man). And today, it gives me great pleasure to (finally) welcome John Scalzi to the Stargate: Universe production as its new Creative Consultant.

Now what, you may ask, does a Creative Consultant do? Well, allow me to inform, clarify, and put some rumors to rest…

1. Does a Creative Consultant provide commentary on scripts in development?

Yes, the Creative Consultant reads outlines and scripts, helping to creatively shape a future episode by providing insightful input along the lines of “The color of alien plant life is dependent upon things like atmospheric chemistry, and the proximity and brightness of the star the planet happens to be orbiting!” or “Uh, James can’t be the one who saves Young. You killed her off back in episode three.”

2. Does a Creative Consultant write scripts?

It’s theoretically possible, yes. If he’s got the time, a good idea, and the inclination – why the hell not? So long as it’s understood that I’ve already called dibs on any potential future storylines involving smart-aleck robots, telepathic dogs (the beauty is that, from a visual effects standpoint, their lips never have to move), or ending with the audience realization that the episode they just watched was actually a story being read to Jelly (the ship’s telepathic canine mascot) by Anne D. Roid (the Destiny’s sassy robot caretaker).

3. If a Creative Consultant has a problem with the script, is he/she allowed to physically punish the writer?

Alas, gone are the days when studio executives could march into the production offices unannounced and kick a writer for such transgressions as contrived plotting, wooden dialogue, or liberal use of the Canadian spelling of color (“colour“). Today, as unfair as it sounds, you must have a pretty good reason to kick a writer. A weak third act break or the shoddy job he did waxing your car just won‘t cut it anymore. State labor laws and the inroads made by the WGA in recent years have all but eliminated the physical abuse of writers, except under the following circumstances:

Writer misses a script deadline = A warning for the first offense and pinky twist for the second offense (note: while the bestowing of extreme discomfort or the eliciting of plaintive cries and tears is permissible, fractures and dislocation are not. Note: Sprains are a bit of grey area open to debate.).

Writer’s script is short = Unlike a long script which can be sent back for editing, any work the writer does to a short script will amount to either the padding out of existing material or the addition of superfluous scenes. On such occasions, it is permissible for the producer to administer one paper cut to any area of the writer’s body (excluding the eye and genital area.  Note: This particular clause being an annoying antiquated holdover from the old Geneva Convention.) for every page the writer is short (assuming the average page count).

Writer fails to bring back everyone’s lunch order in a timely manner = Another area open to debate: What constitutes “a timely manner”? Well, a recent agreement between the WGA and the AMPTP defines “a timely manner” as: “An interval of time up to general grumbling but not to exceed the moment at which a producer must trek to the kitchen in search of a handful of nuts to tide him over”. In this instant, it IS permissible to strike the writer BUT ONLY WITH AN OPEN FIST (closed-fist strikes are reserved for actual screw-ups with the lunch orders – ie. A failure to ensure there is, in fact, mayo on your burger.).

Writer produces a script that necessitates a full rewrite on the part of the producer = Punishable by one kick, a head butt, or two swirlies to take place at a mutually agreed upon toilet. (On the bright side, should the rewrite succeed, the fact that the writer’s name remains on the finished product will undoubtedly win him/her the accolades of many a fan who simply don’t know any better.).

4. Does the Creative Consultant get an office and a parking space?

Since Creative Consultants tend to be involved in a more infrequent manner, contributing whenever a script or outline is delivered as opposed to being a part of a production’s day-to-day operations, they are generally not afforded the luxury of their own office. Nor are they given their own parking space although, on occasions they do visit the offices, their on-screen credit ensures they must submit to only the most minimal of cavity searches prior to gaining admittance to the lot.

5. How much does a Creative Consultant get paid?

Numerous factors come into play here: background, experience, size of the production, workload. These factors are carefully weighed and, after some discussion, both the production and Creative Consultant agree on a reasonable rate – to be paid in World of Warcraft currency (note: John, please check the fine print in your contract).

Hope that answers some of your questions.

Anyway, John came by the production offices yesterday. We sat all sat around and discussed the show and the Air three-parter, took a stroll down to Stages 4 and 5 to tour the in-progress Universe sets, discussed John’s involvement in the production and, finally, moved on to the most important part of his visit: Dinner at Fuel.

We sat down to a five-course menu and, for my very first time, as a customer I actually gave them specifics as to what I could not eat: sugar, fruit, and starches. “What are you going to have for dessert?”owner Tom Doughty wondered aloud. But, twenty minutes later, returning to serve us our first course, he was all smiles. “We’ve got the perfect dessert for you,”he assured me.

Well, to all of you particular about your food, head on over to Fuel because the gang loves a good challenge. I started with a delicious brodo with sliced wild game sausage, followed by a mouth-meltingly good seared foie gras on salsify and creamed Jerusalem Artichokes, then some sweet and tender grilled scallops, and, finally, the house crispy duck for my main. It was John’s first time having duck and he was, as expected, wowed by Fuel’s version. In fact, John seemed to really enjoy all five courses, particularly his dessert: a chocolate terrine that he luxuriated over, polishing off one leisurely bite at a time. As for me, my dessert was a dry-aged Alberta prime rib steak with beet salad. I kid you not. Even though I was close to tapped out, there’s always room for dessert, right? I ate half and brought the other half home for Fondy (who didn’t eat it fast enough so I had it for breakfast this morning). To complete the meal, we were served a tray of little bite-sized sweets: nougats, gelees, sables, and, for me, celery sticks with all natural peanut butter. All in all, a meal most creative AND delicious. My compliments to Ted who called the shots in the kitchen.

As for the company – well, what can I say – Scalzi is as hugely entertaining one on one as he is on the page (If you don’t believe me, have dinner with him.). We talked about books, film, television, writing, family life, travel, food, and, oh yeah, Ohio sushi restaurants. Lotsa fun. Looking forward to working with him.

Finally – I was walking by the kitchen yesterday and ran into actor Mike Dopud who played Colonel Chernovshev in SG-1’s Full Alert, Odai Ventrell in SG-1’s Bounty, and Kiryk in Atlantis’s Tracker (see last season, editor). He was in the office, awaiting a copy of Tracker, so I seized the opportunity to invite him to do a fan Q&A on this blog (ie. “Hey, Mike, I’m not sure if you’re aware but the terms of your contract require you to do an online question and answer session on a blog of the producer’s choosing…”). Anyway, Mike contacted me this morning to tell me he’d be happy to swing by. So, if you’ve got questions for this former pro athlete turned stuntman turned talented actor, start posting.